FIREFIGHTERS ARE set to hold a national demonstration in London on Tuesday 11 June as part of their fight over pay. Council workers will then strike across London over pay on the two days following the firefighters' march.
That week is also due to see the start of a ballot by council workers across Britain in the GMB, TGWU and Unison unions. This could lead to possible strikes over pay. This forthcoming action shows the growing anger over wages among whole groups of workers.
The firefighters are demanding £30,000 a year, with no strings attached. They know they face a serious fight with their employers and with New Labour to get it. The demonstration, called by the firefighters' FBU union, may lead to the first national strike since 1977-8. Many firefighters earn around £21,500.
Some of them have second jobs and others rely on benefits to survive. Meanwhile chief officers are paying themselves six figure salaries. In London firefighters also need an increased London weighting allowance, the payment workers get for the extra costs of living and working in the capital. London FBU leaders have recommended pressing for parity with the police, whose allowance is £6,000.
Thousands of London Unison members, teachers and lecturers are also fighting for increased London weighting. The FBU has already called for joint union action against privatisation.
Many firefighters feel the same should happen over pay. Coordinated action alongside other trade unionists will maximise the impact on the employers and New Labour.